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Transport by Motor Car

Lincolnshire was home to a number of carmakers during the 20th century.

These manufacturers were spread throughout the county in Bourne, Gainsborough, Grantham, Grimsby, Lincoln, Spalding and Stamford.

The history of car making in Lincolnshire dates back to 1898, when John Henry Pick of Stamford sold a car of his own design to a Dr Benson of Market Deeping. John Pick’s cars soon became a familiar sight on Stamford’s roads and in March 1900 the Pick Motor Company Limited was launched.

The company eventually moved into a large workshop opposite the George Hotel and by 1910 the firm was producing a variety of models, including a two-seater sports model “capable of 50 miles per hour”. Production of Pick cars ceased in 1925.

Another early Lincolnshire carmaker was Frederick Baines of Gainsborough, who built a light car with a 2½ hp engine. Baines intended to sell the car to the general public for £100, but production never got underway.

Frederick Baines also helped to design a car for Rose Brothers of Gainsborough. The firm’s principal business was the manufacture of tobacco-wrapping machinery, but between 1900 and 1906 they produced a number of variants of a car called the “National”, powered by 2, 4 and 6 cylinder engines

Lincolnshire Archives has an extensive collection of motor vehicle licensing records relating to vehicles registered in the administrative regions of Lindsey, Kesteven and Holland and the city of Lincoln. These documents cover the period from 1903 to 1974, although there are some gaps.

Ruston & Hornsby Limited entered the car making business shortly after the First World War. The firm’s intention was to build a cheap, mass-produced car to compete with American imports

When the car went on sale in 1919, however, it proved to be underpowered and too expensive. The design was improved, but it soon became apparent that Ruston & Hornsby could not match the prices of their larger competitors and car production ceased in 1923.

The most recent car-making venture to be based in Lincolnshire was launched in the 1980s by Vegantune, the Spalding-based tuning and engine manufacturing company. The firm produced a small convertible sports car called the Evante, which resembled the Lotus Elan of the 1960s. Production of the Evante began in the mid-1980s and the car continued to be built in very small numbers until 1991.

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Last updated: 1 November 2010

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